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Old 12-08-2009, 04:45 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
Reputation: 1506

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Oh I agree with you Plowman. We are dairy farmers so we are beseiged with dairy cow manure and 99% of the time that is what we use for fertilizer. It is indeed liquid gold and soil tests prove it. We stopped growing potatoes in 1988 and since then our crop soil is perfect. Organic matter is optimum, copper, iron, magenese, boron, sulfur, etc...the only thing we are high on is magnesium.

The problem with chemical fertilizers is that it is easy, but it does become a dependency since it is a quick shot to the soil and has to be done again and again. The soil also becomes lifeless, lacking bacteria and earthworms that really make soil productive. All that stuff you get from good ole fashioned manure.

We did have to use anyhydrous ammonia for the first time this year though. With all the rain we got, it leached the manure out of the soil and the corn had nothing to make it pop. We took a gamble, sprayed it with anhydrous amonia and two days later the weather broke and ran with that anhydrous ammonia. We had corn grow a foot in 65 days...something I have never seen before. It saved us as we are one of the few farms that have enough feed this year...corn especially.

As my grandfather said, there is a time to sow and a time to reap, and the good Lord will give you the weather to do both, but it is up to the farmer to decide when those things take place. WE took a risk for sure, anhydrous was expensive and milk prices were down...we could have sunk deeper with the decision to buy fertilizer, but ultimately it worked out. But here is the thing, in 2009 we have become so accustomed to running to the Gov everytime a crop fails (crop insurance) that we are actually crippling ourselves by not realizing we can control our own destiny.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:26 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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---sprayed it with anhydrous amonia--

???????????????

You're not making sense.

Anyhddrous amonia is not sprayed but has to be knifed into the ground when applied cuz it comes out as a gas/vapor

If you sprayed it on, it certainly was not anyhydrous amonia ( 82% nitrogen)
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:29 AM
 
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Default I beg to differ

Anyhddrous amonia is sprayed on our fields every year. As far back as i can remember - the spray trucks are out all over the region
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:42 AM
 
7 posts, read 11,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
---sprayed it with anhydrous amonia--

???????????????

You're not making sense.

Anyhddrous amonia is not sprayed but has to be knifed into the ground when applied cuz it comes out as a gas/vapor

If you sprayed it on, it certainly was not anyhydrous amonia ( 82% nitrogen)

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pub...ons/PM1875.pdf

[SIZE=3][SIZE=3][LEFT]"Each year Iowa corn growers apply more than a billion
pounds of nitrogen as anhydrous ammonia (NH[/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
[SIZE=1][SIZE=1]3[/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=3][SIZE=3]) as
crop fertilizer. During the application process some
of the ammonia vaporizes, changing from liquid to
gas, which causes application inefficiencies." .........

[/LEFT]
[/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:46 AM
 
7 posts, read 11,050 times
Reputation: 19
[quote=Litakb;11936474]http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pub...ons/PM1875.pdf

"Each year Iowa corn growers apply more than a billion
pounds of nitrogen as anhydrous ammonia as crop fertilizer. During the application process some of the ammonia vaporizes, changing from liquid to gas, which causes application inefficiencies." .........

My apologies, you ARE correct in the literal form. Perhaps its a 'regional slang', for generations in this area we have called it spraying. But yes the actual equipment is "knifing".
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:54 AM
 
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I was going to say, it's knifed in too. So Brokentap, you're a dairy farmer? We are too among other things. This milk price has been something, but then it hurts the big guy more than the little guy. The little guy is used to not making any money. These mega dairies are borrowing over a hundred thousand dollars a month, just to feed the cows as they don't have any of their own feed.
I keep hoping the poor price would even up the playing field.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:02 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plowman View Post
I was going to say, it's knifed in too. So Brokentap, you're a dairy farmer? We are too among other things. This milk price has been something, but then it hurts the big guy more than the little guy. The little guy is used to not making any money. These mega dairies are borrowing over a hundred thousand dollars a month, just to feed the cows as they don't have any of their own feed.
I keep hoping the poor price would even up the playing field.
I hear you, and I think it has. I still laugh every time I see those California milk commercials where is shows the Holsteins lallygagging in the pastures...like that is really what California Milk is really like. It is funny because in the dairy magazines they try to portray themselves as cutting edge, while to the public they try to portray themselves as old fashioned farms where the cows would love to go. I know Holstein's better then that...they prefer a temp of 28º which is why they love the northern tier states.

I am not sure where we rank though; spread across two farms we have about 1100 cows. Some call it a "big dairy farm" and other don't think it is quite so big. I really don't know, but we are looking to expand in the very near future so we are getting bigger to keep up with a growing family. That is a VERY good thing.

As for anhydrous ammonia, we do indeed spray it, but it is not at the 82% concentration you cite. I think it is 30%, with urea making up the remainder or thereabouts, but it is definitely a sprayed fertilizer. You do have to be careful because farming methods used in one region can definitely be different in other areas of the country. I remember last year a mid-west farmer shocked that we harvest the entirety of the stalk with silage corn. He was rather belligerent at how "we were causing erosion" because we did not have adequate corn stubble to stabilize the soil. He never realized that our BMP's include lots of cover crops to prevent such erosion. We couldn't farm without soil, so naturally we protect it at all costs. Not something the mid-west has to deal with, but that is why many of our neighbors headed west some 180 years ago! :-)
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:17 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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3 different types of nitrogen commonly used------

82% nitrogern which is knifed into the ground
46% nitrogen (urea) that is a dry fertilizer that is broadcast
28% nitrogen that is sprayed as a liquid

No, it doesn't change much regardless of where in the US you are.

Those 3 are the most common with 82% anyhydrous amonia being the most popular because it is knifed in and you lose very little

82% anyhydrous can also be knifed into the soil in the fall if the soils are heavy and soil temps are low.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:26 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
Reputation: 8170
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Oh I agree with you Plowman. We are dairy farmers so we are beseiged with dairy cow manure and 99% of the time that is what we use for fertilizer. It is indeed liquid gold and soil tests prove it. We stopped growing potatoes in 1988 and since then our crop soil is perfect. Organic matter is optimum, copper, iron, magenese, boron, sulfur, etc...the only thing we are high on is magnesium.

The problem with chemical fertilizers is that it is easy, but it does become a dependency since it is a quick shot to the soil and has to be done again and again. The soil also becomes lifeless, lacking bacteria and earthworms that really make soil productive. All that stuff you get from good ole fashioned manure.

We did have to use anyhydrous ammonia for the first time this year though. With all the rain we got, it leached the manure out of the soil and the corn had nothing to make it pop. We took a gamble, sprayed it with anhydrous amonia and two days later the weather broke and ran with that anhydrous ammonia. We had corn grow a foot in 65 days...something I have never seen before. It saved us as we are one of the few farms that have enough feed this year...corn especially.

As my grandfather said, there is a time to sow and a time to reap, and the good Lord will give you the weather to do both, but it is up to the farmer to decide when those things take place. WE took a risk for sure, anhydrous was expensive and milk prices were down...we could have sunk deeper with the decision to buy fertilizer, but ultimately it worked out. But here is the thing, in 2009 we have become so accustomed to running to the Gov everytime a crop fails (crop insurance) that we are actually crippling ourselves by not realizing we can control our own destiny.
I totally couldn't make --heads or tails--out of your last paragraph.

What does crop insurance have to do with applying fertilizer ?

Federal Crop Insurance is called---" multi peril"
( meaning it covers the " perils" of mother nature------hail and drought--which would result in crop losses.

You seem to insinuate that farmers who don't fertilize can go " running to the government" if their crops are poor and collect crop insurance.

Not unless there is hail or a drought.
And if hail or a drought hit, it ain't gonna make much difference if you fertilized or not.


Please explain how farmers can go --" running to the govvernment" --collecting crop insurance in absebce of hail or a drought.

Last edited by marmac; 12-08-2009 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:14 PM
 
163 posts, read 157,609 times
Reputation: 61
Friend, don't stress yourself.
I was raised that we should expect nothing from the government or anyone else other than to be left alone.
We don't even report our yields to the ASCS and we've never rec'd one dime of subsidy money on any of our crops.
I realize you pay for insurance so some think it's different.
How about if you have a crop in the field and weather makes it so you're unable to get it out? Does the "insurance" cover for that? I assume it must as I have plenty of neighbors who are "BIG" farmers and they sure don't seem to be in any hurry to get their crops out.
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